This week, a federal judge will hear new complaints that the Michigan Department of Corrections is providing inadequate mental health care to state prison inmates.
A year ago, 21 year old Timothy Souders was found dead in an isolation cell at the Southern Michigan Correctional facility in Jackson. Souders had been shackled to a bed for four days, for unruly behavior. The mentally ill inmate died of excessive heat and thirst. His family is suing the Corrections Department.
Critics cite the Souders case as a glaring example of problems with the Corrections Department's treatment of mentally ill inmates.
A federal judge will hold a hearing on mental health treatment in state prisons on Wednesday in Grand Rapids.
Attorneys for state inmates have filed a report by Psychiatrist Terry Kupers, which sharply criticizes the prison system's delivery of mental health treatment. Kupers has been examining mental health programs at Michigan prisons for 25 years. According to Kupers, the prison system has a tendency to under diagnose' mental illnesses and fails to consider a prisoner's mental health when disciplining disruptive inmates.
The Corrections Department is trying to convince the federal court it has a new plan to provide health care to all state inmates. Part of the Michigan prison system has been under federal court oversight for 2 decades. © Copyright 2017, Michigan Radio